CENTRE-BACK John McCombe is unlikely to solve a potential striker shortage at York City by playing up front against Chesterfield tomorrow night.

Injuries to forward pair Ryan Bowman and Ryan Jarvis during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Hartlepool meant McCombe made his City debut as a makeshift striker after being hailed from the bench on 85 minutes.

But, even if Bowman and Jarvis do not recover for the Bootham Crescent clash against the Spireites, City boss Nigel Worthington would be reluctant to name McCombe in attack even though the 28-year-old did start out as a forward when he was on schoolboy forms at Huddersfield Town.

First-year pro Chris Dickinson and 18-year-old Shaq McDonald could be other options for Worthington, if Bowman and Jarvis are ruled out.

But neither player has yet featured in a Football League fixture and McDonald did not even make the bench at Victoria Park.

Worthington could also draft somebody in with the transfer window still open until Friday.

Asked whether he would use McCombe as an emergency target man from the start against Chesterfield, Worthington said: “Ideally not, because you have got to be fair to him.

“We know John’s a centre-half but, being a goal down and with the strikers coming off at Hartlepool, we just tried to get a bit of a presence up there to make something happen and he gave it a good go.

“But, tomorrow, it might be a case of putting some fresh legs up there one way or another. We will need to see where we are at over the next 24 hours.

“Ryan Bowman has tweaked his Achilles so, hopefully, he might be fine. Ryan Jarvis has tweaked his ankle so his injury might be more serious.”

Midfielder Lewis Montrose will also be absent tomorrow night as he starts a two-match suspension after being shown his tenth yellow card of the season at the weekend.

Adam Reed and Tom Platt are contenders to replace him in the starting line up, with Worthington adding: “The door now opens for the next person in.”

The City boss, meanwhile, believed a “stupid” challenge at Hartlepool by Josh Carson, which saw the visitors fall behind from the subsequent free-kick on 82 minutes, proved the game’s pivotal moment.

Pools top scorer Luke James broke the deadlock and on-loan Manchester United winger Jack Barmby – the son of former England international Nick – went on to add a second goal on 89 minutes.

Delivering his match verdict, Worthington said: “It was a very, very good performance for 82 minutes. We were very strong, resilient and competed well but the first goal disappointed me because Josh gave away a stupid free-kick 20 yards from goal.

“He had the opportunity to clear the ball down the line but, instead, we gave them the chance to put it into our box and it’s finished up in the back of the net. It’s those little things that can be the fine margins between losing and winning games and you have to learn from these situations.

“If you have an opportunity to clear the ball you have to. We are not Real Madrid or Barcelona – we are York City and need to know where we are, what we are good at and act accordingly. We were then trying to get back in the game and they got a second.”

Keith Lowe also had a great opportunity to open the scoring on 78 minutes but lifted his shot too high from five yards out.

“In all honesty, it was probably harder to kick Keith’s chance over the bar than it was to put it in the net,” Worthington said. “We had other opportunities as well and we have got to make sure we show that desire and endeavour to score goals.”